October 2018: This is your utility calling…

What happened down in Texas?
Last Monday Austin Water (AW) issued an unprecedented city-wide boil water notice as its water treatment facilities dealt with a historic amount of debris from upstream flooding.

AW’s treatment capacity usually runs around 300 MGD but the debris reduced that volume to ~105 MGD. To make matters trickier, demand was running at about ~120 MGD, so AW and the Mayor asked residents to cut consumption by 15-20% to maintain water pressure and supply for emergency services.

To get a sense of things, check out these photos of Lady Bird Lake in Downtown Austin. Truly remarkable.

 How did people respond?
Social media (predictably) went a little crazy, and bottled water sales spiked – but calm under pressure was the status quo. Austin Water staff and Dropcountr were quick to communicate and support customers across social networks, in the news and on the ground.

Also, it was heartening to see neighbors helping out neighbors: breweries boiling water en masse to support local businesses, residents checking in on the elderly, even neighbor San Antonio Water System sent up a fleet of water trucks to support demand. Talk about hospitality.

An exercise in demand-response
It’s not often water utilities need to reduce service-wide consumption as quickly as AW needed to; typically the long-view is taken, in response to extended-drought or new development.

This event in Austin is a stark reminder of the importance of customer communication channels and building your customer relationship. It also highlights AW’s preparation for an emergency of this magnitude – major kudos are due to staff and management.

Dropcountr has supported Austin Water with customer portals and communication software since 2015. To learn more about our program please reach out to ganesh@dropcountr.com

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➣ A status 12 years in the making (3 minute read)
Last Tuesday President Trump signed America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, which lifts WaterSense – that little program saving Americans more than $68 billion with a B on water and energy bills – from its status as a “discretionary” program to federal legal status. This is a huge win for the EPA and the Alliance for Water Efficiency. Nicely done all!

➣ WSI 2018
Another fantastic year at the Southpoint! We want to give a congrats to Dropcountr partner Austin Water for their G480 platinum certification (learn more about that accreditation here) and a shout out to Mary Ann Dickinson and Stephanie Zavala from Rogue Water (aka one half of the H2duO) for joining our discussion re: supporting your Spanish-speaking customers. Thank you!

➣ More Wonkiness
Hot off the heels of WSI we booked it to Palm Springs to present research about using data to target communications and drive conservation.
What day of the week are customers most responsive?
What type of messages *click* with customers?
What don’t?

Pretty nerdy (and highly useful!) research, but the audience response was overwhelmingly positive – thank you to those in attendance. We’re sharing the deck here. Feel free to reach out to ganesh@dropcountr.com if your utility is interested in learning more about how, where and when your customers are most responsive

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What’s happening at Dropcountr

In case you’ve been under a rock, we’d like to make a formal introduction of our aforementioned friends the H2duO and their podcast Water in Real Life.

We’ve had the pleasure of sharing a stage, a podcast, a beverage and many laughs with these two over the past several months and wholeheartedly encourage you tune in to their Podcast every Monday morning. You can start with their recent conversation with our founder and CEO, Robb = )

Stay tuned!
Kellock + Team Dropcountr

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